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APPENDIX B : Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE) Research

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This appendix provides an overview of the activities of the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE). It also meets the requirement to report on how research by the BTRE contributes to the achievement of the National Research Priorities announced by the Prime Minister in late 2002.

About BTRE

Who we are

BTRE is a specialist economic research arm of the Department of Transport and Regional Services. Its research and analysis enables the department and its customers to understand and make more informed decisions about transport and regional issues.

What we do

BTRE contributes to the wellbeing of all Australians by providing economic analysis, research and statistics on transport and regional issues for use by the Australian Government and by other government, industry and community customers.

How we make a difference

BTRE maintains unique data collections and is the sole source of data in a number of areas. BTRE's data and research is widely cited in public and private sector analysis as well as the media and is also cited in this annual report.

In 2004-05, BTRE hosted a two-day transport colloquium that brought together more than 200 business leaders, policy makers and academics from across Australia to discuss tomorrow's transport infrastructure (see case study page 89). It released reports on:

  • risk in cost-benefit analysis for use in project evaluation and decision making
  • trends and issues in general aviation, and economic activity in Australia's regions, and
  • economic activity in Australia's regions using 20 years of taxable income data.

Free data and statistical updates were also provided to industry and the community on maritime, rail, aviation and road transport including through the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE) website www.bitre.gov.au

In 2005-06, BTRE expects to:

  • release new research on freight measurement and modelling in Australia, future demand for AusLink national network corridors and Australia's major ports, rail industry harmonisation, the cost of remoteness and welfare dependency by region
  • complete a trial of national land transport data sharing arrangements to provide the basis for an improved future national land transport statistics capability, and
  • start new projects on public private partnerships, freight terminals and the cost of road crashes and on the economic turnaround in Tasmania.

How we do business

BTRE's annual workplan is developed with input from external stakeholders and is subject to approval by the Minister for Transport and Regional Services. BTRE's costs-mainly those of its 44 staff-are attributed to and reported as part of the price of specific outputs.

BTRE CONTRIBUTION TO NATIONAL RESEARCH PRIORITIES

As the table below shows, BTRE research focuses mainly on issues relevant to the portfolio but does accord with the national research priorities in some instances. For copies of research and other publications, visit www.bitre.gov.au

Table 6.1 - Major BTRE publications in 2004-05

BTRE publication
National Research Priority
1
2
3
4
achieving environmental sustainabilitya
promoting health and wellbeing
developing new technologies and industries
safeguarding Australia
BTRE reports
R110 Risk in cost-benefit analysis
R111 General Aviation: An industry overview
Working papers
WP61 Is the world running out of oil? A review of the debate
WP62 Modelling Responses of Urban Freight Patterns to Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scenarios
WP63 Health impacts of transport emissions in Australia: Economic costs
Information papersc
IP53 Australian Sea Freight, 2002-2003
IP54 Focus on Regions 3: Taxable Income
Information sheets
IS24 Public road-related expenditure and revenue in Australia (2005 update)
Other major publications
June 2005 Australian Transport Statistics pocketbook
Issue 5 & 6 Avline
Issue 37 & 38 Waterline

a Environmental sustainability is broadly interpreted per the principles set out in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. A report against that Act is at Appendix E (page 201).
b Released 1 July 2005.
c IP52 is to be released in 2005-06.